Qatar Nassau Stakes
|Group 1, Goodwood 15:00
Fillies & Mares, 3yo plus,
1m 1f 197y, Class 1
1 Al Husn 9/1
2 Above The Curve 7/1
3 Nashwa 11/4
6 ran Distances: ½l, ½l, nk
Time: 2m 13.37s (slow by 8.47s)
Al Husn is good enough to beat Blue Rose Cen and Nashwa in a messy renewal of the Group One @Qatar_Racing Nassau Stakes @Goodwood_Races under @JimCrowley1978 for @varianstable pic.twitter.com/qftjOzSlHq https://t.co/U5TFIqZkux via @RacingBetter— RacingBetter (@RacingBetter) August 3, 2023
Al Husn lowered the colours of some high-profile rivals, providing Shadwell jockey Jim Crowley with a second G1 prize in under a week after Hukum’s success in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes.
Making her debut at G1 level, Al Husn enjoyed a perfect trip on the heels of the leader Above The Curve before working her way to the front and holding off all challengers in the straight to score by half a length.
Above The Curve stuck to her task well to hold second, just ahead of Nashwa, who looked a big danger before her run flattened out.
The favourite Blue Rose Cen, a dual Classic winner in France this year, could never land a blow after meeting troubl e and finished fourth.
Al Husn has now won seven of her last eight starts for Roger Varian, with today’s success following victory in the G3 Hoppings Stakes at Newcastle in June.
Varian said: “Al Husn is a remarkable filly. I think she has won seven of her last eight now. The truth is none of us really knew how good she was, because she is one of those who just beats what is in front of her and is never particularly flashy. She has such an admirable attitude. We thought we would come here and run very well, but I am obviously delighted, and delighted Sheihka Hissa is here. To have a Group One for her and with a homebred filly like this, it’s fantastic.
“The Nassau is a fantastic race, steeped in prestige and history. It is one of the magical races for fillies to win. It will be forever in her stud book and hopefully when she’s done racing, she can go to the farm and be a great mare for them. It is very special for us – we went very close a couple of years ago in the same colours with Zeyaadah. So it’s nice to go one better today.”
On where the filly may go next, he added: “Well let’s enjoy today and see how she is tomorrow. She is in the Prix Jean Romanet in two-and-a-half weeks’ time in Deauville. She is in the Yorkshire Oaks, if we fancy going up to a mile and a half, although I’m not sure about that. Later in the year, races like the Prix de l’Opera I’m sure will be considered and who knows, perhaps something at Santa Anita for her.”
He added: “All she does is keeps beating what is in front of her. She never seems to beat them by three or four lengths, she just does enough. We were all very impressed with Nashwa at Newmarket, so we thought she would be very tough to beat today. But I guess looking back at Newcastle, the distance is about the same so maybe that form line is as true as it can be.
“Twelve months ago, I don’t think I would have said she would be stood here in the winners’ enclosure after the Nassau Stakes, but we have always really liked her. She is not the biggest filly, but she is very well made. We trained her mum, Hadaatha, who was third in the Prix de l’Opera, so we always had faith that Hadaatha would breed a very good one.”
Crowley said: “Al Husn was so tough there. You can see how big she is, she is not a big filly, but she is a little terrier who tries and is so tough. She has improved with every run and it's just great to nick a race like that with her.
"She is a very good filly and we were in the right place at the right time. It is the nature of the track – when I saw the French filly [Blue Rose Cen] get that draw, I thought they were going to need a bit of luck, and we had the luck today. I had to commit on her a long way out.
“It was a steady, tactical affair and she was in the right place, but she still had to kick on two out and fend them off, which she did. It was a great performance.
"She beat Nashwa last time – Nashwa probably over-raced in that race at Newcastle, but Nashwa then came out and won at Newmarket.
“Roger’s done a fantastic job with Al Husn, and she’s just kept on improving all season. Coming here today on the figures, she still had to step up and she did. She might possibly get further, but we have never really thought about it. It is something we can talk about.”
Thady Gosden said of Nashwa: “She has run a very good race. They went a slow pace and it’s very difficult to pick up in this ground. She travelled into the race well but you can’t quicken on ground like this, and that has sucked the class out of her. She won last time over a mile and showed a brilliant turn of foot in ground that was soft but obviously not as soft and easier to quicken through. Today she has run a very good race but couldn’t quite show that brilliance we have seen before.”
Hollie Doyle added: “There was no pace early on but Nashwa relaxed beautifully. They got racing early enough coming down the hill. I was just trying to hold on to her for as long as I could and I went there with a double handful at the two-furlong pole. A furlong and a half out I went to win my race, pushed the button and she quickened. I just think in the final furlong I lacked a bit of stamina. It has happened a few times now, and even today I rode her the opposite way and it confirmed what we might have thought. Take nothing away from the winner, who is very good.”
Christopher Head said of beaten favourite Blue Rose Cen: “It was a very tactical race so of course it was a possibility that kind of thing could happen. She ran a nice race, she did her race, and for sure would have been closer in a different position. I still think Blue Rose Cen ran a very nice race and she will get into the rest of the programme at the end of the season.
“It’s different here, so we need to respect and go into the racing with the fact that, even with a strong possibility of winning, there is still a possibility to fail.
On Aurelien Lemaitre having not ridden at Goodwood before: “The Yeguada Centurion team and Leopoldo [Fernandez Pujals – owner] are always interested in working with the young ones for the future because it’s important for them to build a team that follows them and we are still working together. Of course, Aurelien was part of the team.
“We will have to discuss with Leopoldo and we will come back with a programme. I need to talk to see what the team want to do with her. This was a nice opportunity because we need to exist at that type of race. It hasn’t been won by France since the beginning, so it was still a challenge.”
Qatar Nassau Stakes
(British Champions Series)
£600,000 guaranteed, 3yo plus, 1m 1f 197y, Class 1
POS. (DRAW) DIST HORSE AGE WGT TRAINER JOCKEY SP
1 (6) Al Husn 4 9-9 Roger Varian Jim Crowley 9/1
2 (5) ½ Above The Curve 4 9-9 Joseph O'Brien Ryan Moore 7/1
3 (4) ½ Nashwa 4 9-9 John & Thady Gosden Hollie Doyle 11/4
4 (1) nk Blue Rose Cen 3 9-1 Christopher Head Aurelien Lemaitre 10/11F
5 (3) 1½ Caernarfon 3 9-1 Jack Channon Connor Beasley 25/1
6 (2) 3¾ Never Ending Story 3 9-1 A P O'Brien Tom Marquand 33/1